Archive for April, 2020

Fake News

There is a defensive ploy often used when seeking to discredit an opponent in a verbal conflict. It is simply this: accuse the opponents of doing what you are doing in such a way as to focus attention on them doing it so people won’t notice you are doing it.

For example, accuse a person of hate speech in such a way people won’t notice you are employing hate speech. Often the person accusing an individual of hate speech has more hate than the accused. One accusing another of bigotry is at times an even bigger bigot. By focusing attention on another they escape being identified as a bigot.

In the entertainment field of magic this is called misdirection. In magic the audience is encouraged to look in one direction while something is happening in another. Magic consists of creating an image by misdirection of the senses. If the senses are misdirected by a lie, it creates what communications experts call a meme. A meme is an idea that spreads like a virus from person to person. Facebook is notorious for memes.

Hitler is said to have commented, “If you tell a big enough lie, and tell it frequently enough it will be believed.” Whether he said it or not, it is the truth.

Both national political parties have master “magicians” working to divert attention from what they are doing. If one party is floating a discrediting lie on the other they accuse the other of lying.

Minnesota Senator Ilhan Omar is a classic example of a use of misdirection. In her criticism of America’s support of Israel she claims legislators who support Israel have in effect dual citizenship. This misdirects persons’ attention from Omar’s radical support of Islamic countries. By accusing others of dual citizenship she herself has an even more radical dualism.

The classic act of mass misdirection relates to the Allies’ invasion of Europe at Normandy. It was know that if Hitler moved his massive force from Calais to Normandy the invasion would fail. To keep his forces at Calais a fake army was built up across the English Channel near Dover, England consisting of fake jeeps, tanks, and trucks built from cloth and plywood. Inflatable rubber vehicles were also deployed. Every night troops would pick up the vehicles and move them to a different location complete with fake tire tracks. Even a fake navy was developed. German forces were misdirected to Calais to prevent the invasion which occurred at Normandy. Misdirection ruled the day.

Today Europe and much of the world is experiencing misdirection regarding conditions in America. The people of other nations develop their opinion of American politics and economics by watching CNN. All the insight regarding America most people in other countries gets comes from that one source. The CNN depiction of America is not without bias. Therefore, the world’s concept of America is tendentious.

Seasoned politicians before being interviewed often make a list of their talking points and no matter the topic of the question by the person doing the interview, they misdirect it and make their point. In doing this tactfully they misdirect the attention from a question they don’t want to answer to a topic they want to advance. Notice this in TV interviews.

Not all misdirection is a lie, but all lies are a misdirection.

Jews And Discrimination

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is the first Somali-American to serve in Congress. She has been outspokenly critical of Jews and Israel. Congress was prompted to pass a watered down resolution condemning hate speech, thus avoiding passing a resolution opposing her comments.

Her comments come at a time when hate crimes are on the rise in America. Jews are more often victims of hate crimes than any segment of the population. Hate crimes against Jews rose by more than a third last year comprising 58 percent of all religious-based crimes. Jews are victims of more hate crimes than Muslims, who represented 16 percent of religious-based hate crimes. More Jews are victims of hate crimes than are persons of African descent.

There are six million Jews in America. They are classified as Jews based on their ethnicity, not their religion or sympathy with Israel. Half of them are unaffiliated, meaning their Jewishness is unimportant to them. That helps understand why in national elections they often do not vote for the presidential candidate most friendly to Israel. There is perhaps a larger per cent of support for President Trump in the Jewish community in Israel than in the Jewish community in America.

In America the Christian community is basically supportive of Israel. For those who do not understand the basis of such support the following is offered to help comprehend why. The support is biblically based.

Three times in Scripture it is said God gave the land of promise to the Jews (Genesis 26:3; 28:13; 32:28). It is called “the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2: 8).

God’s promise to Abram is recorded in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The Jewish community affords several background blessings for the Christian community: the Scripture, the prophets, the patriarchs, the twelve apostles, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.

Christians in general accept the instruction of Psalm 122: 6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.”

There are things about Israel regarding which I do not approve, but if we wait for perfection before praying for a person or about a thing we are

Israel is the only republic with elected officials in that region of the world, our most supportive of any country in the middle-east. There is a popular t-shirt in tourist shops in Israel showing an F-16 fighter with the caption, “America don’t worry, Israel is behind you.” They are a very close ally of America.

Republicans have expressed hope Omar and her ilk will inspire support for President Trump. Several national Jewish leaders have indicated Omar’s comments won’t move the needle toward President Trump in spite of all he has done to aid and favor Israel.

There is a biblical example of those being blessed who bless Israel. Jesus went to the house of Cornelius in Capernaum, a Gentile, to heal his servant. The logic Jewish elders used to persuade Jesus to go is recorded in Luke 7:5 “he loves our nation and has built us a synagogue.”

God’s response to Cornelius is noted as, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.” (Acts 10: 4)

Cornelius blessed the Jews and God blessed Cornelius.

There is no perfection among nations, but if erring I want to err in compliance with, “I will bless those who bless you” Israel.

Values And Virtues

Values and virtues have been changing expeditiously. In effect they have been inverted within a generation. Our national moral standards have been likened to a store front window into which someone came in secretly and reversed the price tags on items making the valuable look cheep and the cheep more valuable.

This description is applicable of a number of societies over the ages.

The ancient prophet Isaiah (5:20) offers this caution: “Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitterness for sweet, and sweet for bitter!!”

Such is a description of a group of ancient “wise men,” sophists, who were making a case for their deviate actions.

Against Isaiah’s warning of “woe” we go our merry way as though the warning does not apply to us. The consequence has always been as natural as it is for one plus one to equal two. That conduct always naturally results in what is summed up in the word “woe.” It always has and always will.

The ancient Greek Thucydides described this spirit in the Peloponnesian war when rashness was called courage, prudence timidity, treachery cleverness, and honesty stupidity. He was describing a group of moral dissidents. Such distortion in all ages is the natural progression of a culture that doesn’t acknowledge God’s standards, and always ends in what is summed up in the little word “woe.” It is still part of the life equation.

There is a relevant agricultural application. You always reap what you sow, later than you sow, and more than you sow.

Today attitudes and actions that were broadly accepted as immoral in previous generations are accepted as the new norm. Today among progressives there is no shame in what was only a short time ago considered sensual and shameful. A strata of our society is not ashamed of sin, nor do they care for honesty, but are inclined to a desperate immorality.

You can call bitter sweet, but it is still bitter. You have changed its name but not its nature. Karl Menninger, founder of the renowned Menninger Clinic wrote a book entitled, “Whatever Became of Sin.” His thesis is we are inclined to call what has long been called sin by some other names. Thus we hear less of sin. It is not that there is less, but it has been given a more acceptable name. He concludes by what ever name it is know it still has its debilitating impact. You can call evil good, but it is still evil with its same influence. Conversely you can call good evil, but it retains its virtue.

You can call a lie a mis-spoken word, but it is still an deceptive untruth.

You can call socialism progressiveness, but it is still a flawed system of government and economy that has proven it doesn’t work every where it has been tried. Yet, socialism is being sold to an uninformed public as good.

This practice of calling evil good and good evil began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. If evil were not postured as good and good as evil there would be no temptation.

As an individual we may not be able to change our total culture to choose good not evil, light not darkness, sweet not bitter, but we can determine by which we will live personally.

Walls: Do They Work?

The Hyksos are a little known people. Time writes faintly on the pages of these mysterious people in light of their impact. They seem to have emerged out of Asia and settled in the Eastern Nile Delta around 1650 BC. They were Semitic, though not Jews, and spoke and wrote in Semitic. They were not of one nation, but many drawn by a common denominator; Egypt, an opportunistic land of promise. It is speculated that among their various nationalities were Hurrian and Indo-European people.

They began as a trickle, moving into lower Egypt.However, many had already entered bringing with them some advanced principles and implements that seem beneficial to Egyptian culture. Among their arts and crafts were some advance weapons of war. They introduced the chariot for warfare. As their numbers increased so did their impact on the culture and economy of the region. This led to the opening border of Egypt providing an unofficial invitation and soon caravans of Hyksos flooded. This surge resulted in larger numbers of them moving north and exercising greater influence on the Egyptian culture.

As their numbers increased a 500-meter long “giant fence” was built to stem the influx. Their numbers entering was decreased.

By 1782 BC in the Egyptian city of Avaris in Lower Egypt they established the Second Intermediate Period (1782-1570 BC). From their number leaders emerged. Two declared themselves a Pharaoh and ruled north and south Egypt. Some scholars believe the pharaoh with whom Moses related to have been a Hyksos. There is little evidence to support this. Overall Hyksos ruled Egypt for over 200 years. The trickle became a tsunami.

When driven from Egypt by Almose of Thebes, their destiny has been as mysterious as their emergence. However, while in Egypt they influenced the religion, economy, morality, and culture in general.

When a significant culture invades a nation they invariably set about to change the very things that attracted them there.

America is facing a challenge not unlike that of ancient Egypt. One can’t help but be moved by the thousands seeking entrance into our country. Their plight, however, does not give them the right to violate our laws.

A clash is likely at our border not between cultures, but between compassion and the laws of a sovereign state, It is yet to be revealed who sponsored and organized the caravans and why. Seven thousand people didn’t meet by chance in a park and agree to take a hike to America.

If allowed in, it will be an open invitation for more to come. If allowed in, then our government (you and I) will have to provide them the support the country from which they came from didn’t.

Like with the Hyksos, what matters is the issue of what ideals and ideas do they bring with them and how will that change America. This ancient issue needs addressing, Who sets about to build a house and does not first count the cost? The ethos of America is at stake.

The process of legal immigration is valid and valuable. We need immigrants, but we need to know who they are and what is their intent, That is how American immigration has always worked and it worked..

Remember the Hyksos!

Minimum Wage

“Raise the minimum wage, it is the compassionate economic thing to do.” That is the plaintive plea often made. Is it? What will it result in and who will it hurt? Before the authoritative power brokers make the decision they need to study some examples. After all decisions have results, actions have reactions.

We just returned from beautiful Bermuda. The island is 22 square miles of beauty populated by approximately 62,000 people.

Most of the vegetation was imported years ago from Australia. The island was the jumping off port from North America to Australia. Ships would carry merchandise from the Americas to Australia and fill their empty hulls with plants on their way back. The verdure hills of the island have resulted in rare landscapes. Portuguese were brought into work the crops and their descendants are still the farmers today.

In times past the British had large stockpiles of munitions stored there. It became one of the main involuntary suppliers of the army of George Washington.

The islanders were once friendly and inviting. Fifteen years ago when we started going there Johnny Bunn, a local stood, rain or shine at the primary roundabout near the entrance of Hamilton, waving to every car that passed. Johnny died recently and his friendly spirit did also. People are less friendly and more reserved. One local explained the change as being people are “making babies” at a younger age and not teaching them the values inherent in their culture. This has resulted in a seismic sociological shift.

They have a minimum wage of $23.00. Sounds good to some. What is the result?

When wages increase the cost of goods and services increase. It is the inevitable tit-for-tat. Dramatic inflation has resuted. Gas is $9.00 a gallon. Basic staples, such a bread, milk, and eggs have increased in price. A dozen eggs is between $4.00 and $5.00. Most hamburgers are between $15.00 and $20.00.

There are several beautiful golf courses on the island. The PGA World Cup Championship was held there recently as was the American’s Cup regatta. The initial membership to join the Mid-Ocean Golf Club is one million dollars.

The result of raising the minimal wage is that those who were poor are still poor proportionately. An increase in the minimal wage has resulted in an increase in the cost of goods and services. The ratio is still about the same. Those who have suffered are those on a fixed income. Their wages have not escalated beyond the increase in the overall costs of living. The result is many people have to work two jobs to get ahead.

Bermudans are not as reluctant to speak about poverty as are Americans. They say that poverty is not defined by a lack of money, but by poor decision making. One social worker told us some people are so illogical in making their decision that the average person would know what they are doing will not work. Even after being given wise council they continue to make illogical decisions.

That is not to speak disparagingly about the majority of bright citizens. There are many sharp business people involved with the numerous world headquarters located on the island.

The island is home to 312 churches. Even in this time of declining membership they are making efforts to renew the moral, ethical, social, and spiritual standards of the past.

America can learn intellectually and avoid their pitfalls or learn experientially and suffer their results.